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11 Tips to Prepare you For College Classes

11 Tips to Prepare You for College Classes

Starting college can either be an exciting adventure or a stark lesson in survival, depending upon your level of preparedness. Hopefully, your experience will be the former. That’s why we’ve compiled these eleven timely tips to help you put your best foot forward. They’ll not only answer any questions you have, but they’ll make your time in those hallowed halls much more enjoyable and productive.

College Classes

College classes — are they like the classes you took in high school? Is there still a ban on talking in class, and is gum chewing still taboo?

If this is your first college experience, you might be surprised to learn just how chill college can be. Not only can you chew gum in class, but you can usually bring coffee, too. Of course, it’s all up to your individual instructor, but overall, there’s a lot more freedom to be had in a college class than there ever was in high school. Even better, you’ll learn cool stuff like how to program a computer or how to give a patient a life-saving injection, depending on your program of choice.

How Long Are College Classes?

Typically, a college class runs anywhere from 45 minutes to several hours. Longer classes are often worth more credit or meet less frequently, and there’s usually a break somewhere in the middle, so you can get your caffeine fix or grab a quick, healthy snack. Labs are usually longer sessions, which is why many are worth four credits instead of the usual three. You’ll be able to see the length of the class before you register to take it, which should help to eliminate some of the suspense.

How Many Classes Do You Take in College?

The answer to this question depends on the type of degree you’re pursuing:

  • Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts — 120 credit hours or more
  • Master of Science, Master of Arts — Additional 30 to 40 credit hours
  • Doctorate — Usually an additional 60 to 120 credit hours

These numbers may vary according to university and program, but they should give you a general idea. Keep in mind that classes may be worth anywhere from one to four credits and that the majority of college classes are worth three credits. Therefore, to earn a Bachelor of Arts or Sciences, you would need to take roughly 40 classes.

Tips to Prepare You for College Classes:

Sadly, there’s no magic wand you can wave that will instantly prepare you to succeed in college. However, these tips for college classes can certainly help:

1. Get a Head Start on Reading

If you’re someone who has always enjoyed reading, you may find your college textbooks fascinating. Once you’ve registered for classes, you’ll be able to access your required booklist. If you buy or rent your textbooks early, you’ll have time to leaf through and familiarize yourself with the chapters. This is a great way to get a feel for what you’ll learn in class. And reading ahead might help you stay caught up throughout the semester.

2. Set Academic Goals

Some degree programs are more competitive than others, and they may require a higher grade point average (GPA). If you plan to apply for medical school, for instance, you’ll likely need higher grades than someone who’s earning their degree in communications. Make sure you understand the requirements in the very beginning and then set personal goals to help you reach them, such as deciding how much time you need to devote each week to studying or how many pages you must read.

3. Brush Up on Any Academic Weaknesses You May Have

We all have our strong points and weaknesses. You may be a math genius, for instance, but lack musical talent. Your friend or sibling, on the other hand, may find mathematics inexplicable, yet they play guitar like Eddie Van Halen. You’re both perfect in your own ways, but it helps to have a clear understanding of the areas in which you need to work a little harder.

Luckily, college is an ideal place to find useful resources to help you get by. Stop by your school’s Learning Resource Center for more information.

4. Get Organized

How do you organize your thoughts? Are you someone who needs to record and re-listen to lectures? Or are you a note-taker? Whatever it takes to help you stay organized, you should do it. This might mean keeping everything together in a binder, investing in index cards, and using mobile apps and reminders.

5. Learn/Improve Your Time Management

Time is important because there won’t be much available once classes begin. This is especially true for students who attend full-time. Therefore, it’s vital that you use your time well. Find a comfortable balance that allows you to combine work with play. While you should strive to be successful in college, this should also be one of the most enjoyable times in your life.

6. Learn the Name of Your Instructors/Professors

This one is easy. Your instructor’s name will be listed alongside the class when you register. Once you know who they are, don’t be shy about asking around for opinions on how they run the class.

7. Find a Good Study Environment

Where will you study? Will you study at the library, in the computer lab, or in the little cafe on the corner? Maybe you plan to study in your dorm room with your noisy roommate and his louder-than-necessary friends. While the latter is probably not ideal, the decision is yours. One of the best study tips is to find out which study environment works best for you, then seek it out regularly.

8. Cut Back on Social Media

Everybody loves Instagram, but it’s probably not going to help you pass that pop quiz coming up tomorrow. Learn to limit the amount of time you spend on social media during your first semester of college, and you might be surprised by how much time that leaves for other pursuits.

9. Get on a Good Sleep Schedule

Sleep when you need to. In fact, sleep more than you think you need to. Sleep heals your body and helps fuel your brain. The right amount of sleep can improve your memory, help increase your focus, and boost your mood.

10. Come Prepared

Show up to class prepared. Have your textbook if you’re required to do so. Keep up with the nightly reading. Read back over your notes on occasion. Avoid staying up too late the night before class, and make sure you have a healthy meal or snack before reporting for duty.

11. Don’t Stress

It’s easy enough to say, but it’s not necessarily easy to do. College can be stressful; there’s no other way to say it. However, you can lessen your stress by learning to effectively manage it. Meditate, be mindful, go for a walk or a jog, and make time for fun activities with family and friends. Put away the books on occasion and go take in a movie or enjoy a latte with a friend.

Earn your Degree, Today

If you’re ready to earn your college degree, consider Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. With our Christ-centered values and dynamic degree offerings, Carson-Newman University is a top choice for more than 2,800 students every year. Join us today, or learn more by visiting us online or in person.

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